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perhaps on their own account, than that of others. Here muses a father on his apostate son, there a brother on his bewildered brother, and there a friend on his declining friend : and oh, at that word “impossible,” he feels as if hell opened to his view, and he saw there his friend, his brother, his son consigned, an irrecoverable victim, to the eternal flames. Wherewith, now, shall we comfort these? And how shall we address those, whose complacent sense and conviction of security we have withdrawn from them, or shaken to the foundation ? The latter we address thus: Watch and pray so much the more. And to the former we say: If those dear friends, whose declension ye bewail, were children of God, they will doubtless return. And though thine eye, and mine, see nothing of it, and though they themselves are scarcely conscious of the fact, the Holy Ghost is not taken from them: for of Him it is thus promised to us : “ He dwelleth with you.” The word of God cannot be at variance with itself: and the whole Bible has no occasion to be afraid of the half. What Christ says in St. John, “ My sheep shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand: my Father, which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand :” what he said at Capernaum, “ All that my Father giveth me shall come to me ;—and this is the Father's will, which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me. I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day :” that yet stands good. And what the Holy Ghost says in our text, runs not counter to it. pp. 166—169.
The volume closes with a discourse of considerable length, upon our Lord's temptation in the wilderness. Among the chief topics are,
“ the leading into the desert;" “ the fasting;” the “design of the temptation of Jesus ;" “ the tempter;" “ Christ's weapon and victory;" “ God's word as Satan's weapon;" &c. The sudden view of the various kingdoms of the world, from the mountain's top, our author entitles the zaubergesicht, or enchanted prospect. On this subject he has some striking remarks.
What Jesus experienced on the summit of the lofty hill, we also experience sometimes. Those especially amongst our brethren, who have by nature a lively temperament, a susceptible mind, and an active imagination, will undoubtedly be able to tell us something of such enchanted prospects. It is most usually the devil's practice to assail persons of this deseription with such snares, because their susceptible nature and their lively disposition seem to promise him a certain victory. At any rate he succeeds much more easily, with people of this kind, than with any other, in wafting them to the summit of his enchanted hill. To effect this, he generally uses some sort of external means. Such he finds, for example, in the department of the fine arts, so far as these have entered into the service of the world and sin. And it is sometimes by an attractive picture, sometimes by a pleasing poem, sometimes by a sweet sound, sometimes by pathetic music, that he drives his magic trade.
Thus it requires only a few concords, or detached sounds of a flute, for instance), which, coming from afar, hover, scarce perceptibly, with soft vibrations, in the solitude of our silent chamber, and the enchantment is effected. As by a supernatural power there lies suddenly spread out before us, a whole paradise full of intoxicating bliss; and, as if a curtain were drawn aside, our eye wanders over a terrestrial heaven. Pleasures of our youth, which we have long since renounced, are once more presented to us, in the most delightful pictures; and enjoyments, which through grace have been years since crucified and mortified, appear to us again in the most tempting shape, in the
most attractive light. Here hang the crowns of transitory honour. Yet how lovely, how enticing, they again appear! There opens to us again the scene of worldly friendship and vain conversation. But how do these circles still delight us! How does the poor heart again feel itself attracted ! Here are discovered, before us, the brightest assemblages of the fashionable world, filled with sound and song, with the viol and the dance: and there glances across us an avenue of roses and of snares, the vista of worldly art, and of sweet poetic dreams. In a word, whatever the world possesses either of beautiful or of refined, all, as by a stroke of magic, gleams suddenly upon fancy's glass, in the liveliest pictures, scenes, and forms. And vain, worthless, and pitiable, as the whole may be in itself, there is yet a spell upon it, a many-coloured coating and embellishment, as if we really had a glimpse of paradise; and now the ocean of sensuality, of appetite, of desire, begins, in the view of such al. luring prospects, to undulate and to boil, as if a storm
were stirring its abyss. Lo, in such moments thou standest upon the lofty hill of magic; and the devil shews thee, as in the twinkling of an eye, the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.
And hence also is the music of this world, as now fashioned, such a dangerous thing, because the devil can so readily and so successfully make use of it, to produce these moments of sensual intoxication. In operas and airs, in symphonies and concerts, the devil finds a potent spell, whereby to transfigure the vain splendour of the world to the likeness of heaven. Experienced Christians have confessed, that, for a moment at least, by means of such-like music, which has now fallen from God, and become animated by the spirit of the world, they have been so potently and so irresistibly bewitched by the devil, that, like drunken men, they have for the moment bewailed their departure out of Egypt, and envied the children of this world, if not their drinking bouts and revels, yet nevertheless their more delicate enjoyments and refined pleasures. Yea, not unfrequently is this most potent of all the arts one, as it were, of the pinions, which bear us, through the operation of the tempter, upon that enchanted hill; where the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them, are enveloped in a brilliancy, in a golden mist and splendour, which lay all the senses in a dream, in a giddiness and tumult; and which would vanquish us on the spot, unless almighty and protecting grace covered us with her shield. Pp. 251-254.
We close our extracts with a short, but striking passage, which may well stand in connection with the last, though it comes from a different part of the discourse.
We children of men are for becoming good too easily; Jesus is looking for the ungodly. We are for making ourselves righteous at once; the Lord is inquiring for sinners. We set ourselves too speedily on high ; Jesus will see us in the depths. Therefore does he sometimes permit the devil to stir up, a little, the sink of our corrupt hearts, in order that its foul odour may ascend and be perceived by us, and the brood of snakes and adders, which lie still and unseen at the bottom, may come up, and dabble upon the surface before our eyes. Therefore does he sometimes permit, that the evil one should rouse a little the musquito swarm of godless thoughts and lusts, that remained torpid in the back chambers of our soul, that we may know what-all God's temple yet harbours, and that self-conceit and pride may be clean destroyed
Therefore does he sometimes permit the adversary to attack us, and to sound the trumpet to our slumbering Iusts. Hah! how are we then astonished, that they are yet there, the old, hateful companions ;-and we thought we had long since swept them away, and made a clean house, with the besom of our pious observances. Now, however, we find it quite otherwise. Then sees the
beloved bride the paint fall off from her face; and she is again, as at first, a negress, black and ugly, and repents again with her first repentance, hut also loves again with her first love, and so will the Bridegroom have it. Then in an instant the far-advanced saint feels the top-step of his sanctity snap beneath his feet; and now, O sad ! he cannot so much as stand upon the lowest. He lies fallen and prost rate, a poor sinner, such perhaps as he never was before. Then sees the proud peacock his glittering tail fall suddenly to the earth; its beauty vanishes like a mist; the fine bird begins to cast his feathers, becomes naked and bare; creeps away, all red with shame, into a corner; and begins to congratulate himself, with all his heart, that it rests with Another to furnish him with the festal garment; and that upon Golgotha there stands a cross ; and that upon the throne there sits a queen, whose name is not Justice, but Grace! Grace!
Our attention has been called, by the volume now before us, to a point of some importance-namely, the discrepancies of rendering in the orthodox versions of the Scriptures, possessed by different churches. Now, what are we to say upon this subject ? what are we to determine respecting those passages of Scripture on which learned and pious translators differ? Some would answer, that the discrepancy arises from the general uncertainty of Scripture itself. Others would cut short the matter, and settle it at once by saying, that our translation is right, and Luther's wrong. Neither of these answers, however, will satisfy us. The point is one of some difficulty and of some nicety. It seems scarcely possible to decide it without error : but we will venture to offer a few remarks, which may assist in leading the candid reader to a sound conclusion.
First, then, we hold, that there certainly are some few passages of Scripture, of which the meaning is doubtful, properly so speaking. We mean, not merely passages concerning which doubts have been raised—as where infidels have questioned the sense, to answer their own purpose—but passages
in which there are two meanings contending for the preference; and in which, though much may be said on both sides, and some orthodox commentators and translators have taken one view, and some the other, it is impossible to decide which ought to be rejected. This is particularly true of those passages, which some regard as questions, some as assertions. Take for instance a passage, with which we hope all our readers are familiar, Rom. viii. 33, 34. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?
It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth ?
It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, &c. Here the second and fourth clauses are taken, by our translators, as declarations, not questions. But some editors of the Greek put a mark of interrogation after them, according to the construction of the preceding and following verses; and the passage will then stand thus: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?
Shall God that justifieth ? Who is he that condemneth ?
Is it Christ that died ? yea rather, that is risen again? We allege, then, that there are some few passages of Scripture, in which it is impossible to say, with certainty, which of two renderings ought to be taken. We are disposed to go further, and to admit that there may be a few passages, in which three meanings have claims, without any possibility of determining which of the three has the greatest.
Shall we call this chance? Shall we call it a blemish? We dare not call it either. We would rather regard the whole as the result of design, and as being foreknown, appointed, and caused by Him, by whose inspiration the Holy Scriptures were written. The Bible is so much God's own book, that we cannot exclude Divine Providence and Prescience from any thing connected with it. How is it that two different translators, both sincere, translate the same passage in two different ways? Often, we feel persuaded, because the passage admits of the two renderings. Thus Luther gives one; but our translators, who evidently worked with his version before them, as any one may perceive who will compare the two, saw fit to give the other. The inference is, not that one or the other must be wrong; but that both may be right.
We are not advocating the opinion, if such an opinion ever existed, that passages of Scripture must be regarded as having every possible meaning that they can be made to bear. All we maintain is, that where a passage bears two meanings, of which it is impossible to say with certainty that either is wrong, this is not to be attributed to carelessness or to chance, but to the Divine purpose
and pre-ordination. For why? Each of these two meanings is instructive, and tends to edification. Take, for example, John v. 39: “ Search the Scriptures." How many profitable sermons and exhortations have been grounded, and rightly grounded, upon this text. But others would translate the passage differently; making that an assertion, which we make an injunction. According to this view, the whole passage will stand thus :
“ Ye search the Scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life : and they are they which testify of me: and ye will not come to me that ye might have life.”
That is : you search indeed the Scriptures, for that eternal life, which, you think, is contained in them; and those very
Scriptures testify of me; and yet, strange inconsistency, ye will not come to me, that you may have that very life which you seek.
Now who can say that this is not a good meaning? And doubtless, while the sense of a passage, as given in our authorized version, has formed the subject of many a profitable discourse amongst ourselves, the different sense, given by Luther, may have been turned to equal profit, throughout all the churches of the continent in which Luther's is the received version, for the instruction and admonition of congregations and of souls. Shall we say that this is chance ? Shall we suffer the discrepancy to give us loose views of the authority of God's Word ? No. Let us rather say, It was the will of God. Thus different doctrines may be drawn from the same text, yet no difference of doctrinë may be the consequence. It is a prime rule of composition, indeed, amongst earthly writers, that all ambiguity is to be avoided; and that one sentence is only to have one meaning. But this may be merely an additional instance, in which the rules of classic composition are at issue with the rules of composition prevailing in God's word, and tend to predispose our minds to overlook, dislike, controvert, or reject them. There are other such cases. You must have no broken metaphors, says the classic scholar. This and that passage cannot be understood except as a broken metaphor, says the sound Biblical critic. Thus taste, falsely so called, and Divine truth, are at issue.
Such discrepancies as we have referred to, we attribute, then, to the will of God; and, if we could know the why and the wherefore in each case, doubtless, in each, a wise reason could be offered. Why our church has had one meaning of a text given it in its authorized version, why the Lutheran has had another, the Lord, who rules all things in every church, no doubt knows well; though for us to attempt to assign the particular reason in each case, might be vain curiosity, or immeasurable presumption. If we believe that the Scriptures were given by inspiration of God in the first instance, it seems but natural to suppose, that by way of completing the gift and making it available, He, the gracious Giver, would also take particular care of the various versions of the same Scriptures; especially those intended as channels of Divine truth to large and long-enduring churches. We might hesitate indeed to impute the variations in such versions to Divine inspiration. Yet we hold in this matter, that whatever, in the version, is not inspiration is providence, directing, superintending providence; and that chance is to be excluded from all share in the business.